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An aerial view June 3, 2012, shows the mountains between Faizabad and Khwahan in Badakhshan province, Afghanistan, an area where Taliban fighters launched a surprise attack on Saturday, June 6, 2015.

An aerial view June 3, 2012, shows the mountains between Faizabad and Khwahan in Badakhshan province, Afghanistan, an area where Taliban fighters launched a surprise attack on Saturday, June 6, 2015. (Kimberly Bratic/U.S. Army)

KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban insurgents launched a surprise attack Saturday, overrunning parts of a remote district in northeastern Afghanistan, officials and media reports said.

A Taliban statement said their fighters attacked the police station and government offices in the Yamgan district of Badakhshan province. The statement, which claimed that both locations were captured by 10 a.m., also said a large number of government troops were killed or captured.

But Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, a spokesman for the provincial police chief, denied that the district capital had fallen. Eight guerrillas had been killed so far, while just one Afghan soldier had died in the fighting and two were listed as missing, he said by telephone.

He denied Afghan media reports that claimed the entire district – located about 150 miles northeast of Kabul – had fallen, saying only about half of it had been overrun.

"More security forces are being deployed to Yamgan district by helicopters," from the provincial capital of Faizabad in an attempt to dislodge the militants, Ahmadzai said.

Although heavily outnumbered by Kabul's security forces and their U.S. and NATO allies, the guerrillas have been able to quickly assemble hundreds of fighters in efforts to wrest control of difficult-to-acces areas such as Yamgan.

In late April, the Taliban attacked nearby Jerm and Warduj districts, before being forced back by government reinforcements.

Since the start of their spring offensive In late April, the Taliban have largely focused their attacks in the country's northern provinces, which until recently had been regarded as some of Afghanistan's most secure regions.

Zubair Babakarkhail contributed to this report.lekic.slobodan@stripes.com

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